Add comfort with a little bit of stretch
A review of Dawn Jeans
Considering the options you get (three leg widths plus three fly closures), and taking into account that it can be made up in so many different fabrics for a completely different look (I’d love to make them in linen for summer), I think this versatile pattern is great value.
I made View C, the wide legged version, in the Tall length, in a cotton twill with a bit of stretch. The first time I made this pattern it was with a lightweight non-stretch denim, but while there was some give in the fabric the jeans weren’t as comfortable as I would have liked, especially once I put on a few kilos. So this time I wanted something with a small amount of “comfort stretch” that would be a bit more forgiving. Since the twill didn’t have a huge amount of stretch (you couldn’t use it for skinny jeans, for example) I still went by the pattern measurements when choosing a size, but be aware that there is not much ease in the waist and hips, so you may want to size up or give yourself a little extra seam allowance. Since there is little ease, I measured myself sitting, rather than standing, as that’s how I’ll be spending most of my time in these, and it can really make a difference to your measurements. I was just below a 10 at the waist and 14 at the hip, but ended up taking in 2cm overall at the top of the waist, making for a more curved waistband. These changes are easy to make as you go, but I recommend making a toile/muslin to discover what other amendments may be required.
The easy-to-follow instructions are well thought out and helpful. Sewing a zipper fly can seem really intimidating, but the instructions walk you through it (as well as button fly options), with a supporting sew-along if you want to see photos instead.
The actual sewing of the jeans is not the tricky part, especially with comprehensive directions like these; as with most garment sewing, the real challenge is fit.
As comprehensive as the actual instructions (and sew-along/tutorials) are, I haven’t come across any fitting advice from Megan Nielsen Patterns to supplement this pattern; this would be so helpful, so there is definitely room for development there. A lot of fitting information floating about the internet is about either stretch jeans or more traditional trousers, so it would be great to see some advice specific to these designs.
For me, the cute “cheeky” look of the butt as drafted would result in a nice looking bum but also a permanent and painful wedgie, so to avoid this I scooped the back crotch quite a bit. I had already added 2.5cm to the rise to make sure they would fit at my natural waist (I’m 176cm and add to the rise of most trouser patterns). I also took a sway back horizontal wedge out of the yoke, but a little more is needed.
I made some changes to the pattern and to the construction to make them easier to adjust while sewing, and easier to alter in the future (see my Instagram grid for details). Lockdown weight fluctuation is a way of life now, so it’s best to plan for it to get the most wear of our lovingly (or frustratedly) made garments.
The fit still isn’t perfect but they are perfectly wearable – I’ve even worn them instead of jogger bottoms to work from home to mix things up a bit. If that’s not a glowing lockdown endorsement of using a fabric with a tiny bit of stretch for this pattern, I don’t know what is!